Story by Katy Lynn – Photography by Kiana Teixeira and Adel Bautista
The car scene in San Diego has made a great impact on the culture of local residents.
Every Friday night, hundreds of car owners line up to “park and chill” in a large parking lot, patiently waiting to gather in order to drive out to empty spaces. They show off their new modifications and compare their prized possessions, meeting new companions along the way.
Car exhaust and tire dust clogs the air and occasionally interrupts the audience’s breathing, but to most, it’s worth the experience.
Auto shows in San Diego have taken place for over 50 years, and some devote their lives to these events, because owning and driving a vehicle is a main interest for them.
Over the past year, these car meets have been increasingly rising in popularity, due to the fact that many are creating groups on social media, causing them to spread faster and gain attention throughout the county.
Dan Kendall, a San Diego resident who has been attending car meets since he first got his license, explained how positively impacted he has been by these events. “Attending car meets has been a big part in my life. Meeting people that enjoy the same hobby as I do is what I look forward to every week. It also helps me broaden my horizons when it comes to different cars and certain modifications that can be done to them,” Kendall said.
“I have met my closest friends either at street car meets, or off-road truck meets in the desert. Without car meets, there are not too many more outlets that I can express myself in a healthy way,” he continued.
“Sleepy Boyz” is a car group that had gotten their start of fame on social media. Founded in January 2019, this group has obtained 21 official members and more than 70 people representing them around the city.
Not only have they increased the amount of close members and supporters, but this group has had more than 200 cars attend their meets, mostly due to the fact that their supporters helped gain followers on Instagram simply by word of mouth.
Fabian Sanchez, the founder and originator of Sleepy Boyz said “My goal when I created the group was to just have fun. My circle of friends was originally composed of people local to the Spring Valley area. We were all a bunch of teens with nothing but time on our hands, and we just happened to all have a passion for cars. We all love putting our cars to the limit. Whether it’s doing donuts, or street racing, we all have quite an appetite for adrenaline. I never expected to blow up like this.”
Sanchez spoke about why his group and others have made an imprint on San Diego in their own way. He said, “I feel like the car scene has positively impacted San Diego. Whenever a car meet is held, it is usually next to businesses, which brings them revenue. Also, with the rise in popularity, people are turning to car meets instead of doing other illegal activities. For many people, it’s an escape route that they use to kick back and relax. We mean no harm to anyone or anything. We’re all just trying to have fun and put on a good show every time we throw a meet.”
A big factor to how fast Sleepy Boyz has gained supporters is that they have continued to welcome any type of car since they had started. Unlike other groups focused on one specific type or brand of car, Sleepy Boyz encourages anyone who owns a car and likes to drive to attend their meets. In addition, you will find all age ranges of people, from teenagers to elders to parents and their toddlers, attending their meets.
Seth Montero, a San Diego resident, has been attending Sleepy Boyz meets and filming for them since January, when they had started. He said, “I think it’s a good place for people with similar interests to meet up and have a good time. I think my favorite part is seeing my friends, meeting new people and just watching and listening to the cars.”
The impact that these types of car clubs have had continues to increase as hundreds more attend every single week, devoting their lifestyle to them and the vehicles they own. They are the perfect type of event for any residents, new and old, to connect and enjoy company with those they have common hobbies with.
Mac Zittle, a member of Sleepy Boyz said, “…It’s given me an opportunity to explore San Diego a little bit and also helped me learn a lot about cars. Also, it’s definitely been a good way to find new friends.”
San Diego Subies is another car group in the city that has claimed most of their supporters through social media as well. They have 55 official members, and 2,700 followers on their Instagram account. In addition, San Diego Subies is sponsored by 6 companies throughout the county, including Throtl, a video creating company and Subaru of El Cajon.
Darrel Deguzman, a member of San Diego Subies had said, “Car meets impacted my life by introducing me to new people and a new culture where having a Subaru is a safe middle ground for knowledge, fun and happiness.”
It is likely that these events will become more and more mainstream over time for our city. Most citizens wish to have a place where they can fit in with no effort. Sleepy Boyz and San Diego Subies are a couple of many car groups in San Diego helping our residents with making new interests, connections and relationships. Next time you find yourself in the city on a weekend, find a car meet and prepare for an entertaining night.